The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has improved its application process by enhancing the DEA Career Gateway system and moving to the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) USA Staffing recruiting system.

USA Staffing is a product of the OPM, which means that it’s designed by the federal government for the federal government, to accommodate the unique requirements of federal recruitment and staffing.

The links listed below are provided to guide applicants through the process of applying for a position with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) using USAJOBS and the DEA Career Gateway by USA Staffing recruiting system. Career Gateway by USA Staffing is fully integrated with USAJOBS.


For over 40 years the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as a component of the U. S. Department of Justice, has been the federal government's greatest weapon in the fight against the illegal drug trade. Today, with the help of over 5,000 DEA Special Agents, we continue to dismantle the most notorious high-level trafficking and terrorist organizations that threaten America. DEA applies the vast range of individual talents, specialized training and skills of our Special Agents to the wide range of responsibilities in our vital mission that include:

  • Investigating and helping prosecute major violators of controlled substance laws on U.S. soil and abroad
  • Partnering with federal, state, local and foreign officials in managing drug intelligence programs
  • Arresting and searching subjects and seizing assets connected to illicit drug trafficking
  • Collecting and preparing evidence used to convict drug traffickers, as well as performing other judicial functions
  • Managing all programs associated with drug law enforcement counterparts in foreign countries under the policy guidance of the Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassadors

* Qualifications/Disqualifications

All special agent candidates must meet one of the following criteria to be considered for DEA Academy training:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.95


  • A bachelor’s degree (no minimum GPA requirement) and at least 3 years of specialized experience in any one of the following: engineering, telecommunications, accounting and auditing, piloting aircraft, captaining a sea vessel, or speaking a foreign language (Russian, French, Spanish, Balkan Languages, Nigerian Languages, Urdu, Farsi, Chinese, Mandarin, Hebrew, Arabic, or Japanese)


  • An LL.B., master’s degree or Juris Doctor (no minimum GPA requirement)


  • Extensive law enforcement experience in undercover work, surveillance operations, drug/narcotics related operations, or evidence collection

Once hired, recruits must complete an 18-week training program at the DEA Training Academy in Quantico, VA. After graduation, entering agents are assigned to one of four divisions:

  • Operations Division
  • Operations Support Division
  • Inspection Division
  • Intelligence Division

* Benifits

As the primary field officers for the agency, special agents enjoy extremely lucrative salaries throughout their careers. These salaries begin once special agent recruits enter Basic Academy Training. Students enrolled in the 18-week training program may receive between $37,309 and $41,612 during their training. The salary recruits earn within this range is heavily dependent upon their qualifications:

  • Education—Almost all new recruits possess at least a bachelor’s degree and almost 20 percent possess a post-graduate degree or coursework.
  • Prior law enforcement experience—Almost 60 percent of trainees have served as police officers in local, state, military or federal agencies.
  • Military record—The DEA provides significant incentives for military revenues to join the agency. Almost 30 percent of recruits have served honorably in a branch of the military.

Following basic training, new agents are assigned to one of 223 offices throughout the country. Once posted, the agent may receive a salary rating from GS-7 up to GS-9, which translate into initial salaries ranging from $49,746 to $55,483. These salaries are also augmented by a 25 percent differential for availability based on shift rotation and schedule, as well as a Cost of Living Adjustment. Within four years, agents may advance to the GS-13 pay level, which offers a salary as high as $92,592.

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